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The Yellow Sun (Short Story)

Vernikova

Champion
There's a single "damn" in there. Other than that, it's nothing to worry about. It's an original story.

The Queens-bound A had just pulled away from its first stop in the city and crept its way to the end of its route. A young boy quietly sat in the center of one of the long blue seats in the front-most car. His eyes occasionally lingered on one woman, whom espoused the greatness of her college aloud, before turning his attention to the other woman when she began to speak out of turn. The argument they had was of interest, but his eyes eventually tired from having to dart back and forth to match their pace, so he settled for looking at the still-crisp second page of the New York Times.

“And why is that, Rika?” Erika began, rocketing up from her seat directly across from the still seated Rika. “Harvard is the greatest educational institution on the world. No other system is better. Its staff—world-class, its facilities—world-class, its opportunities—world-class. There's no reason he” (she pointed her finger at him) “should go anywhere else.”

Rika released an exasperated sigh. “Again: most of the hype that Harvard's received is fine, but it's not in the same league as Yale. Yale has all that you listed with the tailpiece that it has the best law school in the land. That's lucky for you,” she said as swiveled to him. “An attorney is what you want to be, right? You're fortunate to be accepted into such an institution. When you get there, I'll personally give you a tour.”

“No, don't listen to her!” Erika intruded. “Our law school will land you a job anywhere!”

“Only for positions where Yale graduates aren't applying,” Rika grinned. She leaned back in her seat and wrapped an arm around him and said, “You don't need to worry about much. Just worry about buying a ticket to New Haven. Yale is the only way to go, right?”

He began: “Well—”

“Well,” Erika spoke and moved to his opposite side on his right. “Who even knows if he'll still want to be an attorney by the time he graduates this June? He's super ambivalent about these kinds of things. Have you read the stuff I sent to you? What do you think?”

“He probably didn't read them. He was probably too busy reading through the stuff I sent him. Right?”

“Well—”

“Don't you think it's time for you to quit trying to recruit him?” Rika shot at Erika. “He's probably tired of your aggressive politicking. Is there a group of Puritan apparitions telling you what to say and do?”

“Don't you think that's a bit ironic, Rika?”

Rika turned her head and frowned at a young woman at the front of the car. The young woman turned around and, with tired eyes, spoke:

“Yale didn't exactly continue as the bastion of morality like the founders hoped it would.”

“It doesn't need to be in this day and age—leave that to individuals,” Rika said, unconsciously scratching at the seat.

“Intentionally misleading people like that is a pretty disgusting thing to do. It would've probably fooled him if people with sense weren't around to check you,” Erika teased, rubbing the nail of her index finger with her thumb. “Though, I didn't need your help, Madison.”

“I wasn't trying to help you. I was just pointing something out; it's not like you've been totally honest about everything either. I swear that the more you two go on about which school he should go to, the more my hair grays.”

“What am I lying about?”

“You're not lying.”

“You said that I was.”

“All I'm saying is that you're overstating some of Harvard's qualities relative to other schools.”

“How would I be able to overstate something like that?”

“Apparitions have ways of speaking through people,” Rika chimed.

“If you ask me,” Madison began. She stopped to catch her breath and restarted. “If you ask me—”

“Which no one did,” Rika interrupted.

“If you ask me—”

“What was that?” Erika tugged her ear lobe.

“If you—”

“'If'?”

“—Ask me.”

“'Me'?”

“I think,” he interrupted, “we should listen to what she has to say.” Rika and Erika both looked at him, said nothing, and turned to Madison, who remained away from seated trio.

“If you ask me, I think he should accept Penn’s offer because—“

“Penn?” Rika mocked and feigned surprise. Erika's scrunched her eyebrows and plastered a cocksure grin but said nothing. “He'd be better off going to Harvard or Columbia.”

“Don't lump Harvard in with Columbia.”

“They may as well be the same system separated by only by name and miles.”

“There's nothing wrong with Penn. It's a great school. And so is Columbia,” Madison tried to moderate again.

“They're not the best schools, though,” Rika opined. “And I think that the best thing for him is to attend the best school. While Penn and Columbia might be good schools, it doesn't make any sense to pick either over Yale.”

“Or Harvard,” Erika continued.

Rika opened her mouth to reply but was cut off by Madison: “Factional.”

“‘Factional,’ Madison?”

“Yeah,” she said, dejectedly. “There are two factions here.”

“I disagree,” Erika said. She leaned over him and, without looking, pinched the newspaper between her fingers and tugged lightly. Her blood-red nails pierced through the thin material, and she ripped through it with little effort. “I see at least three here.”

The train quickly filled to capacity, and the quartet quieted and each paid no mind to the other while within the swarm of colors. The swarm sat and stood and leaned and squeezed, pushing against one another for space on the train, which annoyed both Rika, whom did not enjoy being so close to those she didn’t know, and Erika, whom shared Rika’s sensibilities when it came to strangers. Madison was relatively fine as she leaned on the front door, though the crowding bothered her somewhat as well because the operator would repeat at each stop about another train that right behind them. The one thing that all four were happy about was that the train seemed to move faster now than it had been.

Nearly two hours passed, and Madison had stood for the entirety of the subway ride up to that point because she had been too slow to take any open seat and continued to look through the clear plastic of the train door. Low lights lined both sides as the train marched through the tunnel. The tracks were beams of light that guided the train through the darkness, an unspoken promise that they would reach their destination at some point. As Madison looked at the projected space in front of her, she could see that everything—the light, the tracks, the tunnel—came together at a white point infinitely far away.

The train emerged from underground, and the car was now almost empty save for the quartet and a few remaining riders. The sun's yellow light washed over everything it touched. The wood, the tracks, and the railing outside of the train blended with a bright yellow wash. Lost in her thoughts, Madison flinched from the light that blinded her. She quickly turned away, violently rubbing her eyes with palms of her hands.

“The sun is too damn bright today,” Madison groaned. “Why is it so bright?”

“You didn't notice the light at the end of the tunnel?” asked Rika.

“No, I kind of got lost in thought at some point, but I don't remember when. This ride went by faster than I thought it would.” She blinked quickly to readjust her sight.

“At the very least,” he started, “I can finally read this paper. The train's lights make reading anything a pain.”

“Are you still reading that? You never finish those things,” Erika said.

“It's because of bad lighting. I should start reading outside more.”

“You should move away from his light to read,” Madison said, squinting. “I can barely see anything because of its glare.”

“I think the light is just right,” Rika said. “You just need a good hat and good glasses to get through it. It’s not much of a problem.”

“You shouldn't zone out. Just pay attention next time,” Erika added.

“Yeah.”

The train slowly pulled into Rockaway Boulevard, and everyone but the quartet got off the train. It cautiously turned right and continued on in that fashion for the rest of its route. A few stops had passed when he noticed something:

“Madison, are you all right?” he asked, worry plagued his face as he got up to check on his friend.

“My eyes,” Madison complained. “They're starting to water.”

“Listen, take it easy,” Erika said. “Here, try this.” She took a cotton rag from her bag, wet it, and tossed it to him.

“Wait, your hands,” Madison said.

“Don’t worry,” he replied. “There’s no ink on my fingers. Are you feeling better now?”

“Yeah, I think the stinging is going away. I should be fine.”

“We should get off at the next stop just to make sure you’re okay,” he offered.

“What? No, there's no reason to do that,” Madison protested.

“No way. You looked pretty bad there for a second, so it's best we make sure you're okay,” he replied.

“We can just stay on the train. There's no reason to get off since we're so close to our stop!” she pleaded with him and looked to Rika and Erika for support.

“I think he may be right,” Rika began, standing up and moving beside Madison. “It's just a precaution.”

“What's the next stop?”

“Broad Channel,” Erika answered.

“Yeah, okay. Let's get off there.” He turned to Rika and Erika.

“I'll go on ahead,” Rika said.

“I don't think it's serious,” Erika continued. “But if we all get off at the next stop, we'll be late. I'll go on ahead, too.”

After considering for a moment, he said, “Yeah, that's no problem. I trust you guys to explain why we'll be late.

“We'll continue our college discussion when you catch up,” Rika said. Madison’s shoulders slumped, but she said nothing.

“Of course.”

The train came to a halt at the station, he and Madison carefully made their way to the platform as the doors closed behind them. He looked back at the train as it departed. He could see them speaking to one another, but the screeching of from the train was too loud to hear what they were saying. Madison was okay, and they both watched the train disappear as they waited for a train far in the distance to catch up.

Rika and Erika made it on time.

A/N: This is a short story I wrote over a couple hours for a class I'm taking.

It's based off an assignment I did a while ago about sentences and stuff, and I basically expanded it to this. Originally, there were only two characters on the train, but the work needed to be longer.

I just felt like posting this here. Review, critique, whatever. If you want.
 
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